If At First Your DRM Doesn't Succeed, Try, Try Again

from the try-fail-repeat dept

The world's largest DVD manufacturer is bragging that a new RFID-based solution for DVDs will stop piracy and copying -- ignoring the fact that the list of DRM technologies people haven't been able to break or circumvent is pretty short. The company says that new Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players will check the tags, and refuse to play discs that don't match the players' geographic region setting. Sound familiar? That's because current DVD players have a similar sort of region encoding, which -- surprise surprise -- is pretty easily circumvented by a number of means. What's a little more striking is that the company isn't concerned about the impact this will have on its sales, as consumers won't particularly enjoy being asked to pay more for new products with which they can do less than existing ones. Why should they shell out for products that offer content providers more ways to restrict what they can do? Compare this to companies that do good business in selling DVD players based on their region-free status, or because they can be easily modified to play discs from anywhere in the world: people buy their products because they allow them to do more than similar, but locked down, ones. All this effort at coming up with new DRM isn't just a bad business decision, it's also an exercise in futility, as a single hacker is proving to Microsoft by continuing to break its PlaysForSure DRM as the company tries to patch it. It should also be noted that region-restricting DVDs doesn't have a whole lot to do with piracy (what pirate would bother to include such DRM on their product, thereby limiting their potential market?), it's about stifling the export of DVDs from one area to another. This lets movie studios better control prices around the world, by making it slightly more difficult -- but not impossible -- for consumers to play out-of-region DVDs. But movie studios and other content providers don't want to face up to the fact that it's consumers' dissatisfaction with their business models that leads them to try to find products at lower prices. After all, why confront the truth when it's so much easier to paint it as a technology problem, and just order up yet another form of DRM?

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  1. identicon
    ScytheNoire, 15 Sep 2006 @ 8:09pm

    just stop buying DRM products

    i already refused years ago to buy anything with DRM after buying a CD that kept trying to install stuff on my PC when all i wanted to do was transfer the songs to MP3 to listen to on a portable player.

    and that stance won't change. i refuse to buy DRM products. i will stick by that stance to the end. DRM is just plain bad business. and as more and more people end up getting screwed by DRM, and things don't work, they'll stop paying out for anything with DRM.

    all we can hope is that the RIAA and MPAA go out of business. already musicians are fighting back, because they can create their own CD's in their own studios with modern computers and software very easily. using sites like MySpace or online music stores to distribute the music, they directly make money. currently musicians make nothing, or next to nothing, on the sale of their music. so the RIAA is quickly dying off and they are fighting like mad to survive, but they are doomed, musicians don't need the big music companies any more.

    as for movies, they too will do away with the MPAA, it will just take longer. but directors and producers can start looking to big financial firms to get their money, and then get around having to kiss studio ass. George Lucas did it decades ago, and i think it's worked out pretty well for him. owning the rights to Star Wars, and not allowing some movie studio to own the rights, is why he's so damn wealthy. so going to an outside financial source is going to happen more and more, and then, the studios will be left on the outside. again, technology today allows movies to be made by any one, and we're only going to see more and more movies made outside the studios, and just using promotion companies and distributing companies to get their product out there, without the need for the MPAA or big movie studios.

    the day is coming, and these companies realize it, and they are scared. that's why they are screaming so loudly, they want someone to blame for when they go out of business, and right now they are trying to point the finger at pirating, but in fact, it's they themselves that are their own demise. they themselves are putting themselves out of business.

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